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Things we learnt in plenary: conflict minerals, migration, maternity leave

Plenary Session Institutions22-05-2015 - 09:37
 

MEPs approved measures to prevent proceeds from conflict minerals being used to fund armed conflicts and called on governments to break the deadlock on plans to harmonise maternity leave across Europe. They also debated measures to tackle irregular migrants coming to the EU during the plenary in Strasbourg on 18-21 May as well as green-lit tougher rules to prevent money laundering. Read on for an overview of the plenary. (Read more: Things we learnt in plenary: conflict minerals, migration, maternity leave )

 

Parliament urges EU member states to gear up for new security challenges now

Plenary Session External relations21-05-2015 - 12:56

Today’s unprecedented level of instability at EU borders demands that the EU and its member states shoulder more responsibility for their security and defence now, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Thursday. They urge member states to use Common Security and Defence Policy tools more effectively, improve the fit between external and internal security measures, and pool and share resources, so as to counter terrorism, fight organised crime, strengthen cyber-defence and cope with migration. (Read more: Parliament urges EU member states to gear up for new security challenges now )

 

Human rights: Zimbabwe; Thailand; Swaziland

Plenary Session Humanitarian aid / Development and cooperation21-05-2015 - 12:20

Parliament passed three resolutions on Thursday, calling for Zimbabwean human rights activist Itai Dzarana to be found immediately; the release of all political prisoners in Swaziland; protection for Rohingya asylum seekers and action against human trafficking in Thailand. (Read more: Human rights: Zimbabwe; Thailand; Swaziland )

 

Insolvency: throwing a lifeline to struggling companies

Plenary Session Justice and home affairs / Economic and monetary affairs21-05-2015 - 12:15
Insolvency proceedings  

Struggling companies will be given a second chance to improve their financial situation under new rules on insolvency approved by MEPs on 20 May. Every year 1.7 million jobs are lost in the EU due to companies going bankrupt. Under the new legislation on cross-border insolvencies, companies in financial difficulties but otherwise sound are given another opportunity to turn the situation around. The plans also include measures to help firms before they go bust. (Read more: Insolvency: throwing a lifeline to struggling companies )

 

Conflict minerals: MEPs ask for mandatory certification of EU importers

Plenary Session External/international trade20-05-2015 - 14:19
A group of boys pan for gold in a river on February 16, 2009 in Iga Barriere, 25 kms north of Bunia, north eastern Congo. DR Congo is rich in precious minerals such as diamonds and gold - but its people have gained little from this wealth because of conflict and bad government. ©BELGA_AFP_L.HEALING  

EU importers of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold for manufacturing consumer goods need to be certified by the EU to ensure that they do not fuel conflicts and human rights abuses in conflict areas, say MEPs in their position on a draft law adopted on Wednesday by 402 votes to 118, with 171 abstentions. (Read more: Conflict minerals: MEPs ask for mandatory certification of EU importers )

 

Olive trees: MEPs demand action to halt spread of killer bacteria

Plenary Session Agriculture20-05-2015 - 13:45

The EU must take effective measures to prevent the spread of Xylella fastidiosa bacteria beyond Italy, where it is severely damaging olive trees, says a resolution passed by Parliament on Wednesday. MEPs welcome EU import restrictions on plants from affected areas in third countries but say more may be needed. They also urge that growers be compensated for their losses, and suggest stepping up funding for research to combat the bacteria, which may attack other plants. (Read more: Olive trees: MEPs demand action to halt spread of killer bacteria )

 

FYROM: "The EU should act decisively to help stabilise the country"

Plenary Session Institutions / Enlargement20-05-2015 - 13:45
MEP Alojz PETERLE on FYROM  

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has been rocked by violence and mass demonstrations in recent days. This afternoon MEPs debate the situation in the country, which obtained EU candidate status in December 2005, with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. Ahead of the debate we talked to Alojz Peterle, chair of Parliament's delegation to the Balkan country, to find out his views. (Read more: FYROM: "The EU should act decisively to help stabilise the country" )

 

Maternity leave: MEPs urge Council to restart talks

Plenary Session Women's rights/Equal opportunities20-05-2015 - 13:41
Maternity leave - illustration  

MEPs pressed the European Commission not to withdraw a draft EU directive on maternity leave, despite four years’ deadlock over it in the EU Council of Ministers, in a resolution voted on Wednesday. They also urged the ministers to resume talks and agree an official position. (Read more: Maternity leave: MEPs urge Council to restart talks )

 

EP 2016 calendar of plenary sessions approved

Plenary Session Institutions20-05-2015 - 12:56

The calendar of European Parliament part-sessions for 2016, tabled by the EP Conference of Presidents, was approved by MEPs on Wednesday. (Read more: EP 2016 calendar of plenary sessions approved )

 

Anneli Jäätteenmäki elected as a new EP vice-president

Plenary Session Institutions / Parliament's Rules of Procedure20-05-2015 - 12:36
The new Vice President Anneli JÄÄTTEENMÄKI has been elected today  

Anneli Jäätteenmäki (ALDE, FI) was elected in a secret ballot (Rule 15) as a new vice-president of the European Parliament on Wednesday, following the resignation of Olli Rehn (ALDE, FI), who was elected to the Finnish parliament in April. Fabio Massimo Castaldo (EFDD, IT) was also a candidate for the post. (Read more: Anneli Jäätteenmäki elected as a new EP vice-president )